You can tell how good a book is by how quickly you give your copy away. And, how fast you rush out to buy a new one.
Several students have walked out of my office with copies of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (1966). A couple of weeks later, I find I just need to read a section of it and head out to buy another copy. I’m always looking for copies at used book stores, thrift stores, and library book sales – so I can stock up some in my office to lose them again.
While I love the major philosophical points of these essays – that we are part of the environment, it is part of us, and because of this land is a social issue and not an economic one. These are not my favorite parts of the book.
No, I love it because it presents tangibility and hope in our relationship to the environment. “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.” When I read about mundane tasks such as splitting wood or watching migrating geese, it gives me hope that there are some small ways I can make a difference.
And, whenever I lose the book, I know that someone else is making a difference as well.
If I cannot put a copy in your hands, and you cannot find or afford one on your own, please visit some of these places online that are dedicated to preserve Leopold’s work and thoughts: